Gary Sheffield says he belongs in Baseball Hall of Fame: 'It's good to get all the facts straight'
PALM CITY, Fla. -- Gary Sheffield does not sit around every January waiting for the phone to ring.
The nine-tine All-Star isn't checking Ryan Thibodeaux's Hall of Fame tracker on Twitter to see how votes are trending.
But the man who has been denied a Hall call for nine years knows he deserves a spot Cooperstown.
"It's disappointing because you see guys get in … " Sheffield told the Palm Beach Post Monday.
He could have completed that sentence by saying, "who don't deserve to be in ahead of you."
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Sheffield was at the Floridian for Reggie Jackson's Mr. October Foundation golf tournament. He was willing to talk about the snub. But he was not the only player there on this year's ballot who would be a shoe-in if not for being linked to PEDs.
Alex Rodriguez also teed it up. Rodriguez, though, declined to talk.
Sheffield and A-Rod are among those recent candidates unable to overcome their connection to PEDs when it comes to Hall of Fame voters. They join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Manny Ramirez.
All had Hall of Fame worthy careers. Bonds, Clemens, Manny, A-Rod first-ballot worthy careers. None have come close to reaching the 75 percent threshold to be inducted by the voters, who are members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
I am one of those and I voted for all of the above.
"You have to protect against assuming and making insinuations," Derek Jeter said Monday about those players being shunned. "People say they think this, they think that but no one actually knows. Who knows what's going to happen."
Jeter was one vote shy in 2020 of being the second unanimous selection in Hall of Fame history.
This year Sheffield along with A-Rod and Ramirez watched Scott Rolen get elected. Rolen's offensive numbers are not close to Sheffield's.
And Sheffield's are not as good at A-Rod's or Manny's.
Rolen, a seven-time All-Star, outshines them all on defense with eight Gold Gloves.
"I grew up in an era where they say these are the benchmarks, once you hit the benchmarks that's what is it," said Sheffield, who spent 22 years in the majors with eight organizations.
"All the things people want to put into play … It's good to get all the facts straight and if you get all the facts straight you'll see a lot of things you're saying are not true."
Sheffield, who was raised in Tampa, finished with a .292 batting average, 509 home runs and 1,676 RBI. He is a five-time Silver Slugger and was in the top 10 of the MVP voting six times. He played six years with the Marlins, helping them to the 1997 World Series title. If he's voted in, he could be the first player in the Hall in a Marlins cap
He received support on 55% of the ballots this year, a jump from 40.6% in 2022. He received between 11.1% and 13.6% in his first five years.
This was Sheffield's ninth year on the ballot. He has one more chance before being removed.
"There's always hope," he said, between puffs of his cigar.
A-Rod received 35.7% of the votes this year, his second on the ballott, and Ramirez 33.2% in his seventh year.
Sheffield, though, was named in the Mitchell Report on Steroids in 2007 due to his links to BALCO. He told Sports Illustrated he used steroids during the offseason before the 2002 season. He claimed he used them unknowingly while he was living with Bonds and working out with him, which, very likely has no impact on voters either way.
Add to that, Sheffield was outspoken and considered a malcontent, all of which should have no bearing when deciding if a player is Hall of Fame worthy but, sadly, does for some.
Mike Schmidt, who was part of Reggie's impressive A-List field Monday, was asked if Sheffield, A-Rod, Manny and others associated with PEDs belong in the Hall.
"I can't make up my mind," said Schmidt, the Jupiter resident who is considered the greatest third baseman in history. "If I had to vote I'd be stuck staring at that ballot. What's the right thing to do here? I'm walking down the fence in the middle."
But there is one thing Schmidt is sure about.
"There is a bit of a double standard when you talk about guys associated with (PEDs) that are out, guys associated with that are in," he said. "There are a lot of statistical lines out there that are not in the Hall of Fame because of that. A couple playing in this tournament."
And a couple in the tournament who belong in the Hall of Fame alongside Mr. October and Jeter.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Gary Sheffield, Derek Jeter speak out on Hall of Fame voting process